The liberal arts curriculum at Tougaloo College is based upon two assumptions: first, that students should have a general education drawn from broad academic areas, as well as specialized training in one major department; and second, that students should have freedom, within certain established guidelines and with the advice of the faculty, to choose their own course of study. Official credit for academic work is measured in semester hours. To graduate, students must pass a minimum of 124 semester hours and must have earned at least a 2.00 grade point average. The 124 hours are subdivided into approximately 27-48 semester hours in a discipline major, and the remainder in general education, electives or professional requirements for certification in special fields selected by the student.

The curriculum is designed to prepare students to become self-directed learners and self-reliant citizens capable of dealing effectively with people, challenges, and issues.